SINGAPORE: A 51-year-old Singaporean man who bribed shipping agents with more than S$200,000 worth of corrupt payments was sentenced to 42 weeks' jail on Thursday (Jul 15).
Tan Chee Keong, 51, was the director of Hai Hup Huat Marine and its related entities at the time of the offences, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a press release.
The company provided stevedore services to shipping agencies, ship owners and maritime companies, transporting passengers or cargo between the shore and their vessels.
Tan was "overall-in-charge" of Hai Hup Huat and oversaw all of the companies' functions including operations and accounts, said CPIB.
Investigations revealed that between 2008 and 2015, Tan gave money to boarding officers and shipping agents - the workers who help to handle a vessel's affairs when it calls into port.
The payments were made in the guise of "commissions", "referral fees" or "loans".
"These were in fact corrupt gratifications to induce the boarding officers and shipping agents to continue to engage Hai Hup Huat's services in future," said CPIB.
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Tan made the payments himself or relied on his accounting and administrative staff members to make them, added the bureau.
He gave or approved the giving of corrupt payments amounting to S$211,880 to 40 people over at least 390 instances during this period, said CPIB.
These actions constituted punishable corruption offences, of which 35 were amalgamated charges, it said.
For his corruption offences, Tan could have faced up to five years in jail or a fine of up to S$100,000.
"Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption," said CPIB. It reminded the public that corruption reports can be made online and all complaints, including anonymous ones, will be looked into.